Adderall has become widely used by students, athletes, truck drivers and others who need to stay awake for long periods of time or for ADHD symptoms. This prescription medication has now crossed over into popular use as a recreational drug, as it is a stimulant with some effects similar to cocaine. Adderall comes in the form of a tablet and, it contains amphetamine and dextroamphetamine.
Adderall is similar to Ritalin, although slightly more addictive with longer-lasting effects upon consumption. Adderall produces abnormally high levels of dopamine in the brain and can lead to restlessness, dizziness, headaches, weight loss, dry mouth and insomnia. In 2012, more than 116,000 Americans were admitted to a rehab program for addiction to amphetamines like Adderall.
OxyContin (which contains the active ingredient oxycodone) is a legal opioid that is generally prescribed to relieve moderate to severe pain. This medication is also abused by others on a non-prescription basis because it can produce feelings of euphoria. OxyContin is a slow-release painkiller that doesn’t fully kick in until 12 hours after consumption.
OxyContin is not prescribed on an “as needed” basis for pain. This narcotic is never prescribed to children, and those who mix it with alcohol can suffer an accidental overdose. OxyContin is not quite as strong as heroin (an illegal opioid), but it’s one of the most addictive legal drugs, nonetheless. OxyContin abuse was actually on a downward trend from 2010 to 2012, but unfortunately heroin use rose during that time.
Crack, also known as crack rocks, is the purest form of cocaine available and is smoked through a glass pipe. It causes the user’s brain to release large amounts of dopamine, which results in intense feelings of pleasure and a burst of energy for about 10 minutes. Some users become addicted to crack the first time they try it.
Crack cocaine and powder cocaine have similar chemical compositions and effects, but crack causes a stronger, faster high, albeit one that lasts for a shorter amount of time. Crack abuse became a national crisis in the 1980s and early ‘90s, although crack users make up just a small percentage of overall cocaine users today. U.S. federal law is harsher for crack than it is for cocaine, particularly for those who are found distributing the substance.
Amphetamine was first made in 1887 in Germany and Methamphetamine, more potent and easy to make, was developed in Japan in 1919. The crystalline powder was soluble in water, making it a perfect candidate for injection. Methamphetamine went into wide use during World War II, when both sides used it to keep troops awake.
Methamphetamine is usually a white, bitter-tasting powder or a pill. Crystal methamphetamine looks like glass fragments or shiny, bluish-white rocks.
Methamphetamine is a stimulant drug that is chemically similar to amphetamine (a drug used to treat ADHD and narcolepsy).
People can take methamphetamine by inhaling/smoking, swallowing, snorting, or injecting the drug.
Methamphetamine increases the amount of dopamine in the brain, which is involved in body movement, motivation, pleasure, and reward.
Short-term health effects include increased wakefulness and physical activity, decreased appetite, and increased blood pressure and body temperature.
Long-term health effects include risk of contracting HIV and hepatitis; severe dental problems ("meth mouth"); intense itching, leading to skin sores from scratching; violent behavior; and paranoia.
Researchers don't yet know whether people breathing in secondhand methamphetamine smoke can get high or have other health effects.
A person can overdose on methamphetamine. Because methamphetamine overdose often leads to a stroke, heart attack, or organ problems, first responders and emergency room doctors try to treat the overdose by treating these conditions.
Methamphetamine is highly addictive. When people stop taking it, withdrawal symptoms can include anxiety, fatigue, severe depression, psychosis, and intense drug cravings.
The most effective treatments for methamphetamine addiction so far are behavioral therapies. There are currently no government-approved medications to treat methamphetamine addiction.